It takes a great deal of effort to be recognized at WE Day which was held in Vancouver at Rogers Arena last week. But the Canyon – Lister Elementary School’s volunteer fundraising group, “Be The Change” did exactly that, earning a special VIP experience going back stage and meeting some of the event’s biggest guest speakers.

It was a very special moment according to Canyon – Lister student and fundraiser Amelie Whitwell.

“It was really cool because we got to go backstage and they called out our school in front of the whole arena, and it was just awesome. We got to see Shawn Hook and Spencer West in person.”

WE day is an event held every year in Canada celebrating leadership amongst youth with a myriad of guest speaker ranging from musicians, broadcasters, leaders and survivors. One of those is Spencer West who lost the lower half of his body at the age of five and now inspires people by overcoming obstacles, quite literally, by climbing mountains. Whitwell says West’s message is to ignore how people see you and focus on what you can personally achieve.

The goal is not only to inspire youth, but to allow youth to inspire others. One of the projects Be the Change brought to attention this year is an emergency shelter box.

“We are raising money for a shelter box. It’s $2,000 for the box.” Explains young volunteer and student Lajla Loughran, “It gets shipped to a place that had a natural disaster. It has a wind proof tent, if it goes to some places that has malaria it might have mosquito nets. It has a water filter, whatever they need.”

Other projects include a well in Kenya and a school in Ethiopia.

Be The Change’s core statement is ‘Be the Change you Wish to See in the World.’ The two student volunteers, Whitwell and Loughran iterated that change doesn’t have to be big. They suggested changing daily habits like using reusable coffee cups or not using plastic lids and straws for side sodas at fast food joints.

The group will be fundraising at the farmer’s market selling crafts and baked goods.